Unemployment Insurance Act 1920

The Unemployment Insurance Act 1920 was an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom. It created the dole (weekly cash unemployment benefits) system of payments to unemployed workers.[1]

Unemployment Insurance Act 1920
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to amend the Law in respect of Insurance against Unemployment.
Citation10 & 11 Geo. 5. c. 30
Royal assent9 August 1920
Status: Repealed

The Act passed at a time of very little unemployment, when the Conservatives dominated Parliament. It set up the dole system that provided 15 weeks of unemployment benefits to over 11 million workers—practically the entire civilian working population except domestic service, farm workers, railway workers, and civil servants. Funded in part by weekly contributions from both employers and employed, it provided weekly payments of 15s for unemployed men and 12s for unemployed women. Historian Charles Loch Mowat calls this legislation "Socialism by the back door," and notes how surprised politicians were when the costs to the Treasury soared during the high unemployment of 1921.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Garside, W. R. (2002). British Unemployment 1919-1939: A Study in Public Policy. Cambridge University Press. p. 37.
  2. ^ Loch Mowat, Charles (1955). Britain between the Wars: 1918-1940. pp. 43–46.